Cast Iron Lamb Chops

Happy Wednesday, ya’ll! We have officially made it through half of the week!

Today was a spectacular day; my class went on a field trip to a brand new Junior Achievement facility called BizTown. The students spent the day as executives and employees in miniature versions of stores (like Chick-fil-A, Home Depot, Wells Fargo, Holiday Inn etc.). They became citizens of BizTown; they were responsible for everything from tracking payroll to writing invoices to selling and promoting products. They had a chance to go around and buy products (donated from the companies) with debit cards loaded from the bank with their paychecks. It was amazing experience and the students were super engaged the entire time. Chick-fil-a provided free lunch for everyone; students, teachers, and volunteers!

This evening was cheer practice was for both girls. Late dinner, homework, and now they are unwinding from a long day and getting ready to go to bed.

We had this yummy lamb chop dinner tonight. I got these chops on sale in the organic meat section at Publix last week. I decided to give them a shot. My husband and I love lamb chops, but I was not sure the girls would. I kind of sold them when I said they were a cross between pork chops and steak. There was a lot of fat on them, but the meat that was there was super delicious!   I will be buying these again, but maybe from a butcher. I served them a box of couscous and a bag of steam fresh green beans. Dinner was ready in under 20 minutes.

Cast Iron Lamb Chops

Season your chops with salt and pepper and a bit of olive oil. Take your lamb chops and put them in a screaming hot cast iron skillet. Cook on the first side, about 6 minutes. Then flip it and cook for about another 4 minutes. Rest for 5-10 minutes!


Meatloaf, Cornbread, and Mashed Potatoes

The comfort food trifecta. Yum! I had originally planned on having this on Wednesday night, but E begged me to make it tonight. I had my parents over as well, so I made a huge amount of food!

Cast Iron Cornbread: I made the cornbread first. Preheat oven at 425. Heat your 9 or 12 in. pan. Add about 1/3 stick of butter to melt. Combine the following: 2 cups of cornmeal, 1 egg, 1 cup sugar, 1 3/4 cups buttermilk, and a pinch of salt. Combine in the heated pan and melted butter. You should hear a sizzle. Then put in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. 003

Meatloaf: I let 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of ground Italian sausage come to room temperature in a bowl. I sautéed 1 small onion and 2 cloves of garlic in a pan, about 8 minutes. I do this to avoid raw onion chunks in my meatloaf. Take off the heat and cool for a few minutes.

To my meat, I added 1 egg and the onion and garlic. The rest of the ingredients I eyeball a little at a time until the right consistency; Worcestershire sauce (2 tablespoons), about a glass of red wine, a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce, a squish of tomato paste. I use the tube, so that is why I say squish, but if you use the can, about 1 tablespoon, and about a cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs. I get in there and mix it up with my hands. Mix just enough to combine the ingredients. I do not use ketchup at all. The tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, and Worcestershire combo is better and gives the meatloaf so much more depth of flavor than ketchup ever could. I take my mixture, form in a long loaf shape, and put it on some aluminum foil in a long baking dish.Top with more tomato sauce. 350 for 45 minutes. We had only 1 chunk leftover….perfect for a couple of meatloaf sandwiches! Always make extra for this!

Mashed potatoes: Ok, so I learned this really cool trick from someone on TV, in a cookbook, or one of my food magazines. I honestly can’t remember where I heard this, but boil your potatoes in milk, cream, and butter instead of water! Add some salt and a touch of pepper. The potatoes cook with these flavors! GENIUS! When they are fork tender, strain them out but keep your liquid. Then add your cooking liquid a bit at a time to your desired consistency. Plus, I added a bit more butter… Oh, and we had peas. Gotta add the veggie!


Easy Brunch

Who wants sausage and eggs? “Me! Me! Me!” Sunday brunch is set…sausage, eggs, and why not add some fried potatoes in the mix? Sounds like a plan!

Besides bacon, I can’t think of a better smell than sausage patties cooking in a pan. One of my next kitchen wishes, besides a blowtorch, is a meat grinder. Yep, this former vegan wants a meat grinder. I have a Kitchen Aid, so all I need is the attachment. I am an easy girl to buy presents for; you can just woo me with kitchen appliances.

Of course, you must have cast iron skillets. If you don’t, put them on your presents list. I would get at least 2; one large and one medium. Might as well make it an entire cast iron family.

Heat a couple up for your meat and potatoes. I cut baby potatoes in fourths and fried them in vegetable oil with lots of salt and pepper. I am not a huge fan of the shredded potato hash you get out unless it is SUPER crisp. I love home fries and these small diced potatoes cut up, because they get a bit crispy on the outside, but are still soft, but never mushy.


Then add your sausage patties to the pan. Since I don’t have a meat grinder YET, I just bought some Bob Evan ones from the store. Those are pretty tasty, plus they were on sale. The package says cook them for 10 minutes on the first side and flip and cook until 165 or no longer pink. I am never one for following the rules, so I cooked it for 8 minutes on the first side and 6 minutes on the other side. I cut one in half to make sure it was done. Cooked to perfection. No sausage hockey pucks here!


On to the eggs. Heat up your pan (non-stick is best here. Scrambled eggs are notorious for sticking to the pan no matter what you put in it.) I cracked a dozen eggs in a bowl with salt and pepper and whisked very well. Then I added it to a well buttered pan. I also add a tablespoon of cut up butter and about 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. You could use milk, half and half, or leave them out entirely. I just think they add an extra layer of flavor; a nice creaminess to the eggs and it also helps them from drying out.

Now, the best way to cook eggs or any kind are low and slow. If you cook them too fast, they end up in a hard mess. I like my eggs on the runny/ super soft side, but my husband likes them a little less soft. I make them a bit in-between. One day, I will have to do a post on different variations of eggs. We love our eggs in this household!


What is your favorite brunch meal?

Caring for your cast iron pan or skillet

It is no secret that I love my cast iron pans. There are lots of reasons to embrace cast iron. First, it is non-toxic; when you heat it up, it is not going to give off any toxic materials, like a Teflon pan. It is very versatile. You can use it on the stove or in the oven. It cooks evenly, which means the heat is distributed well, and you don’t get any “hot spots.” It is easy to season and simple to clean!

When you get a new pan, you should season it well. Basically, you add fat to it. You could use vegetable shortening (Crisco), olive or vegetable oil, or my favorite, bacon fat. Save all of the bacon grease from the pan when you make bacon and keep it in a covered can of some sort in the refrigerator). You should also add a bit of salt and rub that in the bottom and all the sides.

Cleaning your pan is simple…Rinse it in hot water while the pan is still hot. DO NOT USE SOAP!!!!! This strips your pan of all its flavor and seasoning and all you are left with is a soapy taste. No one wants to eat soap flavored food. If your pan has been sitting out and has some food stuck in it, just heat it back up on the stove, add a little water or oil in the pan, and it will be easy to clean with a paper towel or gentle scrub brush. Do not soak your pan in water. You want to make sure you dry your pan completely. I dry mine off in a 200 degree oven for a while. This will help prevent rust. If you do find a bit of rust, you can rinse it in hot water and re-season the pan with some fat and salt.

Storing your cast iron pan- I keep mine in the oven, on the stove, and in the cabinet doors. Do not stack them inside of each other. This may cause them to rust.

Happy cast iron pan family